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The last five number one overall MLS SuperDraft picks

With the 2024 Major League Soccer SuperDraft approaching, Toronto FC will want to kick-start their rebuild by making a home run selection with their number one overall pick.

As seen in other professional sport settings, being the number one overall pick comes with a ton of pressure. In leagues like the NFL and the NBA, players who are selected first in the draft are expected to contribute to their respective team’s success straight away.

While many MLS sides certainly like their number one selections to do the same, there isn’t exactly the same amount of pressure to hit the ground running. TFC will become the first team to pick first overall that isn’t an expansion side since Chicago Fire in 2016, signaling the tremendous growth the league has seen over the last half-decade.

Frankie Amaya

Amaya has shined with RBNY / Howard Smith/ISI Photos/GettyImages

The 2023 Supporters’ Shield winners FC Cincinnati selected midfielder Frankie Amaya from UCLA with the number one overall pick in the 2019 SuperDraft ahead of their debut season in MLS.

In his rookie year, Amaya made 19 appearances (15 starts) for the Orange and Blue before going on to start in all 21 appearances the following season, scoring one goal in the process.

After two years at TQL Stadium, Amaya was then traded to Eastern Conference foes New York Red Bulls, where he’s since gone on to become a mainstay in the team’s starting XI no matter who is on the touchline.

He started just 10 games in his first season at Red Bull Arena in 2021, before really showing his quality in 2022 and 2023. In the last two seasons, Amaya has proven his worth as a former number one pick by notching 16 goal contributions in 49 appearances in the middle of the park.

Robbie Robinson

The Herons drafted Robinson in the 2020 Draft / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Like Cincinnati, Inter Miami had the chance to build up their roster ahead of their debut season in MLS in 2020 — and they selected Robbie Robinson with the first pick in the 2020 SuperDraft.

Robinson, who was drafted from Clemson, saw limited game time during his first season in the league but did add four goals in 24 appearances (16 starts) in 2021.

However, a muscle injury sidelined him from May 2022 to June 2023, as he missed 40 games in total for the Herons.

Over the past two seasons before the long-term setback and after his recovery, Robinson has started just nine games but scored two goals and dished out one assist in 828 minutes played.

Daniel Pereira

Pereira hit the ground running in Austin / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

Daniel Pereira was drafted number one overall in 2021 from Virginia Tech by Austin FC, who were also gearing up for their inaugural MLS campaign.

Like the 2019 first overall pick Amaya, Pereira too quickly became a rising star in the league, making 25 appearances (18 starts) in the 2021 campaign as a midfielder who took on a more defensive role.

In the previous two seasons. Pereira has become a stalwart in the midfield at Q2 Stadium. He’s totaled 55 starts in that period and dished out the joint-most assists in 2023 with eight. He also played the third-most minutes on the Verde and Black in 2023 with 2,529.

Don’t be surprised if European sides come knocking soon for the signature of the young Pereira.

Ben Bender

Ben Bender continues to impress / Eston Parker/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Another expansion side in Charlotte FC received the first overall pick in the 2022 SuperDraft, as the Crown selected midfielder Ben Bender from Maryland.

Bender has taken to MLS like a duck to water, making 19 starts (28 total appearances) in his first season while also registering an impressive three goals and six assists.

He was primed for more success in 2023 but was hampered by a minor leg injury that kept him out of action for five games. However, Bender still notched an impressive three goals and three assists in just 911 minutes played/17 appearances.

After their first-ever playoff appearance last term, Charlotte hope to build upon their 2023 campaign as they head into 2024 with Bender and new head coach Dean Smith.

Hamady Diop, Simon Becher

Diop saw limited minutes with the first team / Matthew Ashton – AMA/GettyImages

Charlotte managed to get their hands on the number one overall pick once again in the 2023 SuperDraft after a trade with St Louis CITY, who were preparing for their first season in MLS.

The Crown selected Hamady Diop, a defender out of Clemson like the previously mentioned Robinson.

Diop didn’t get much time on the field with the first team, making just three appearances off the bench that amounted to just 35 minutes. Diop also battled an injury to abdominal muscles in the middle of the season that kept him sidelined for 10 games.

With a full offseason to recover and prepare, Charlotte will hope that the talented Diop will get more minutes under his belt in his second season at the professional level.


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